The Beast in the Jungle

“She waited once again, always with her cold sweet eyes on him. “It’s never too late.” She had, with her gliding step, diminished the distance between them, and she stood nearer to him, close to him, a minute, as if still charged with the unspoken. Her movement might have been for some finer emphasis of what she was at once hesitating and deciding to say… She only kept him waiting, however; that is he only waited. It had become suddenly, from her movement and attitude, beautiful and vivid to him that she had something more to give o him; her wasted face delicately shone with it – it glittered almost as with the white lustre of silver in her expression. ”

James, Henry. “The Beast in the Jungle.” In The Better Sort. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1903. Internet Archive. http://archive.org/details/bettersort00jamegoog. 226

May Bartram is running out of time to get through to Marcher. It seems that she is attempting to bridge the emotional gap between them by lessening the physical one in this scene. The line that stood out to me the most was May saying, “it’s never too late”. Is she be simply answering his question literally, about what is to come in his life? or is she attempting to penetrate his emotions, almost silently begging him to see that it is never too late to see what he has now: her love. Words used to describe her like “glittered”, “white lustre of silver”, her “gliding step”, how her “wasted face delicately shone”, all make her sound like a ghost. Her physical appearance is already seeming to reflect her impending death. Is it too late for Marcher to realize what he has before it’s gone?

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